Many creative people have their creative toolbox that they keep on hand. They pull stuff, and tips and tricks right out of it. It’s like having a magicians magic hat. The key to a Great Toolbox is to include in it the things that will keep your creative soul going even in those times where you feel stuck or are feeling blah and uncreative.
Let’s start with what I keep in mine.
For inspiration, I have many Artful Blogger, Artful Journalling, and Where Women Create magazines, all produced by the Stampington Company. I love flipping the pages and seeing the beautiful pictures and sharing in others creative adventures. It is my hope one day to be in one of those magazines myself. It inspires and motivates me when I feel stuck or lost on what to do.
My favorite creative tool is my laptop. It is a MacBook Pro that is nearly four years old. Since I am first and foremost a writer, I find it essential for working on fiction, moving my poems from the written page to being saved and edited, and where I create my affirmation cards. I also use it for collecting my photos. I will give you a secret, I have about 22,000 pictures. NOT KIDDING. I always find reasons to use ones I thought I would never use especially in designing mini stories and affirmation cards. It is also where I create my stationary, my cards, and anything else that strikes me.
Pick your favorite tool! What is it? Keep it in good condition. If it’s something that gets used often, like a sketch book or journal, do you keep a back up so you always have one. My daughter keeps two or three around the house so she can just grab one.
Now onto some more practical, hands on stuff. Even writers need a little something out of scope of traditional writing to feed the creative soul. Here is what I highly recommend and what I keep for creative tools.
- Watercolor Paints: you can go to the dollar store and get the watercolor kits or you can go to Joanns and for ten bucks get the watercolor tubes. I use them for creating backgrounds, just playing when my mind has been so full of words, I need something that doesn’t require too much language processing.
- Pens, markers, pencils: I will admit to being an office supply junkie. I am fully addicted to new pens and pencils. I love makers, gel pens, colored pencils, Papermate Flair pens, and my fave are Pentel RSVP pens in purple. They just make writing, drawing, doodling so much more fun and interesting. Sometimes, it helps me to brainstorm in different colors to see patterns.
- Paper or Card Stock: A writer needs paper, whether hand writing or printing from a computer. If you want to make little notes or cards with writing or doodles, it helps to have sturdier card stock around and a good pair of scissors.
- Another thing that the paper is good for is making Word tiles. Inspired by Susan Wooldridge’s poem crazy. She creates word tiles and has her students draw out so many words and they have to create a poem. But I have also used them to inspire photos, or doodling or messages to friends. I think of word tiles as a great way to get out of stuckness because you have to work within the confines of the words you picked, it brings out the creative self.
- Tactile: A great toolbox as something wth texture that you can play with, touch in between or during projects. There is something about the switching of the cerebral writing, organizing to something that is just about touch. It changes our posture, calls on different parts of the brain, creates flow through other avenues. especially when stressed or up against a deadline, having some tactile object like play-dough or clay or even different types of fabric can re-direct us.
- TIME! Make sure that you give yourself time to use the tools in your toolbox. Our creative expression is of great importance. Even if you have a job and work forty hours a week, it is essential to our health that we take time for creative expression. I have said before, Brene’ Brown, a well know mental health writer, says that “UNUSED creative expression is NOT benign.” It will manifest itself in agitation, frustration, anger, guilt. A host of negative feelings that eat away at our self-esteem. So being creative helps you be a better you.
- Miscellaneous: 1) Music: I know for me when I am working on certain projects I have specific music that I listen to that creates the mood and environment that I want, especially if I am writing and I want to tune out the noise. 2) Add some acrylic paint as well. The colors are brighter and you get different results by blending. It is just a different than watercolors but fun. 3) Ribbons and stickers. These are just bits of whimsy to add to your toolbox. Maybe you only use them once in a while. I love using my own stickers to decorate packages when I send out orders. 4) Glue. All kinds but at least a good glue stick and a reliable craft glue, like Aleene’s tacky Glue. 5) A Journal. Whether you are a writer or an artist, a photographer or florist, keep a journal. They are great in offering us a chance to reflect. Maybe you just have a project journal. That’s ok. Its just another handy dandy tool for your box.